Living Through The Piano

The Piano was a very successful movie that propelled director Jane Campion to super stardom in the international movie making community and helped to jump start the career of the movie’s star Holly Hunter. The cast contains familiar names and the movie itself deals with a touching story of forbidden love. It is a well done movie that deserved the praise it received.
The Piano is a 1993 movie written and directed by Jane Campion and stands today as one of the shining jewels in the short but impressive resume of the late blooming director. Campion did not get involved in show business until later in life as her early interests included anthropology and painting. In 1982 she began directing movies and soon she found herself getting involved in all aspects of making a movie from writing to acting to producing. Considered by many to be the best director you have never heard of, Jane Campion came into her own with the release of The Piano and established herself as one of the premier foreign movie directors. Not only did The Piano win 3 Oscars at the 1994 Academy Awards but Campion was also awarded the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for her work in The Piano. Prior to Campion no other woman had ever been awarded the Palme d’Or. As for Academy Award wins and nominations the list reads like the envy of every movie maker in Hollywood. Holly Hunter won an Oscar for best actress in a lead role, Anna Paquin won an Oscar for best actress in a supporting role, and Jane Campion won the Oscar for best writing. On top of that there was also nominations for best cinematography, best costume design, best director, best film editing, and even the coveted best picture Oscar. Add to that the films tremendous financial success and you have the movie that put Jane Campion on the Hollywood map.

The Piano is a movie about a mute woman who is sent off to New Zealand in the 1850’s from her native Scotland in an arranged marriage. All she has with her is her daughter and her piano which she uses to help deal with the trials of life and sometimes to communicate as she cannot speak. When she arrives in New Zealand her new marriage is not going well and her new husband soon sells her beloved piano to the next door neighbor. The neighbor agrees to allow her to play her piano but she has to agree to give him lessons and extend to him other favors as well. At first she is repulsed by the whole situation but over time her and the neighbor soon begin to realize that they are developing feelings for each other. As the situation advances it becomes more and more complicated and soon it appears that the entire situation is destined to get completely out of hand. The emotion in the movie is strong and the writing, as well as the acting, help to paint a vivid picture that the images add to. At times it is difficult to accept what is happening but the climax of the movie is done very well and worth the price of admission alone.

The Piano stars such Hollywood favorites as Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin. It was Paquin’s second motion picture and it helped propel her career as she won an Oscar for her performance. The movie received many levels of critical praise and also wound up winning 11 awards at the Australian equivalent of the Academy Awards. The Piano was even nominated for a Japanese Academy Award as best foreign film. Truly a film that reaches that many people deserves all of the praise and success that it receives.
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